From Tamla to Motown...Names such as Barrett Strong, The Marvalettes, Mary Wells, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Jackson Five, Supremes, Diana Ross, The Temptations are all connected with Motown Records. One extraordinary musician is synonymous with Motown...in fact, he is second only to Berry Gordy in the founding of Motown and served as the company's vice-president for over 25 years. As a singer, prolific songwriter and record producer, he is credited with 4,000 songs.
Welcome into the spotlight..
Smokey Robinson in Concert on August 17, 2006
"Motown will always be a heavy-duty part of my life because those are my roots."
~Smokey RobinsonSmokey Robinson: Known as the "King of Motown," Smokey Robinson founded the R&B group The Miracles, which delivered 37 Top 40 hits for Motown Records.
The voice of Smokey Robinson is smooth and soulful. Growing up in a rough neighborhood, Robinson started out singing in local groups. In the early 50s, he formed the Matadors, which later became the world-famous group The Miracles. The Miracles scored their first big hit with "Shop Around" (1960) and developed quite a following with their energetic R&B sound. Robinson also worked behind the scenes, composing and producing for The Miracles and other Motown artists, such as Mary Wells and The Temptations. His work contributed to the success of Motown Records and helped advance the popularity of soul music.
1970 Smokey Robinson and the Miracles started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Tears Of A Clown'. It was the group's 26th Top 40 hit and first No.1, and also a No.1 hit in the UK.
More No.1s on this day, December 12th...Songfacts: Stevie Wonder came up with the music for this song with a top Motown producer named Hank Cosby. They recorded an instrumental demo and asked Robinson to complete the song - it was common practice for Motown writers to work on each other's songs at the time.
Robinson listened to the song for a few days and decided it sounded like a circus - he came up with the lyrics based on the clown. "I was trying to think of something that would be significant, that would touch people's hearts, but still be dealing with the circus," said Smokey. "So what is that? Pagliacci, of course. The clown who cries. And after he makes everyone else happy with the smile painted on his face, then he goes into his dressing room and cries because he's sad. That was the key."
1957 Still married to his first wife Jane Mitcham, Jerry Lee Lewis secretly married his 13-year old second cousin Myra Gale Brown. Lewis's personal life was hidden from the public until a May 1958 British tour where Ray Berry, a news agency reporter at London's Heathrow Airport learned about Lewis's third wife. The publicity caused an uproar and the tour was canceled after only three concerts.
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...